Conrad Black: Recommended Reading

by | March 21, 2015

Conrad Black’s latest National Post article, “The Shabby, Shallow World of The Militant Atheist,” is recommended reading for its ability to show how far a high profile convert to Catholicism will go to undermine atheism.

Richard Dawkins, one of the “prominent militant atheists” Black is attacking in his article, calls our attention to Blacks’s latest diatribe:

Conrad Black seems to be at large again. Spot the factual errors, illogicalities and failures to understand.

The National Post (unwittingly?) provides the best rebuttal to Black and his argument by including this photo with the article:

controversial-adYes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, but Black has not provided any extraordinary evidence. He merely trots out the same old suspects: “the ancient Judaic scholars and the Apostles to Augustine to Aquinas to Newman.” Black does, however, make one very large and disputable claim:

They (atheists) claim evolution debunks Christianity  (though all educated Christians, including Darwin, acknowledge evolution) — but evolution began somewhere.

Note the emphasis on Christianity and the absence of all the other too-numerous world religions.

While to comment on Black’s mention of ethics in his claim that

without some notion of a divine intelligence and its influence on the culture of the world through the various religions . . .  there would be no serious ethical conceptions.

would lead to the charge of ad hominem, it is fair to say that Black’s attack on militant atheists like Richard Dawkins, Peter Singer and “the inevitable Hitchens” is motivated by his conversion to Catholicism:

it was the spiritual bait that I sought, that converted me from atheism, that I premeditatedly swallowed, and that prompted me to agitate the line and be reeled in by the Fisher of Souls.

Blacks opening paragraph begins with an appeal to authority, the authority of Dr. John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford and Christian apologist:

Having spent a very enjoyable two hours in conversation with Dr. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at Oxford University and one of the most rational and persuasive advocates of a Christian theistic view of the world, it has come back to me what a shabby level of mockery and sophistical evasion many of the militant atheists are reduced to, in comparison even with the famous skeptics of earlier times. People like Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and Sigmund Freud, wrote and spoke well, and were more able than is rigorously admissible now to cloak themselves in the inexorable march of science and reason. Their witty if gratuitous disparagements of Christianity were much more effective than the coarse blunderbuss of my late quasi-friendly and frequent adversary, Christopher Hitchens.

Black is too smart to disparage Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell and Sigmund Freud but feels comfortable criticizing his contemporaries: Richard Dawkins, Peter Singer, David Hawking, Jonathan Glover, Richard Rorty, and the late Christopher Hitchens.

Read “The Shabby, Shallow World of The Militant Atheist,” and take Richard Dawkins suggestion: look for “the factual errors, illogicalities and failures to understand” in Black’s article.

12 thoughts on “Conrad Black: Recommended Reading

  1. billybob

    Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence?

    I would like to see even ordinary evidence, not just an ass like Black making farcical assertions.

    “there would be no serious ethical conceptions” this from Conrad Black?

    1. Steve

      I wrote directly to the pompous windbag and was told : ‘You are an intemperate, obnoxious, bigot and a philistine.’
      He also said FU.
      I said nothing about people of faith. I merely stated that
      defenders of all gods fail because no evidence.
      He claimed none of the arguments in the article were his.
      He seems to have placed religion on some pedestal.

  2. Theo Bromine

    Slogging through Black’s typical pomposity, I’m left wondering what triggered this diatribe. And the piece is full of fallacious arguments from authority, from personal incredulity, from bad consequences, just to name a few. As for the people he cites as being representative of militant atheism, other than Dawkins they are certainly not household names in the atheist community – I think Singer would be the most recognizable of the bunch, but he is far better known for his animal rights positions than for his atheism.

    For those interested in finding out more about Black’s hero, John Lennox, here’s a good summary of Lennox’s recent talk at U of Waterloo:

  3. Tim Underwood

    Looking for evidence to support his beliefs are a total waste of time. People like Black have psychological needs that are met by being included into a highly aggrandized fable.

    Everything this man advocates is about his personal privileged status. He likes the idea of multiculturalism, like so many of his kind, simply because he imagines himself within some exclusive class. It wouldn’t do to be just a member of the more ordinary, secular, Canadian culture.

    Why he would want to ally himself with those who would have applauded the success of the Spanish Armada and the subsequent assassination of Elizabeth? This shows his hereditary distain for the common English folk and for his attachment to the more exclusive establishments. Those with really imposing architecture and fine furniture.

    Face it. He is just an elitist asshole.

  4. Eamon Knight

    Gotta admire the chutzpah of Lord Pompous Windbag invoking the usual Dostoevsky sound bite. This is the guy who thinks having enough money makes everything permissible — like helping oneself to more of it, and absconding with the evidence thereof.

    And that’s probably the least stupid thing about the piece.

  5. Diana MacPherson

    Irony seems lost on Black. How has Catholicism helped him be more ethical?

  6. Tim

    Having just gotten out of bed, I read almost the whole damned article before realizing it’s about Conrad Black, not Lewis Black. I had thought, “Holy Christ shit! Lewis Black converted to Catholicism?!”, which would be interesting for a couple reasons. When the fog in my brain finally cleared, my surprise about Lewis was quickly replaced by “meh” about Conrad.

    1. Tim Underwood

      Similar experiences are very rare:
      That feeling of absolute incredulity.

  7. Bob Russell

    Black is not the first Con to find Jesus in a gaol cell……

    1. JDM

      He didn’t. He’s been a Catholic since 1986. What’s more, according to sources referenced in Wikipedia, “Black was received into the Catholic Church on 18 June 1986 by Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter, Archbishop of Toronto.[9] Black would develop a close friendship with Carter and rely on him as a spiritual advisor.”

      In other words, during his criminal spree (plus his renunciation of Canadian citizenship so he could buy himself some silly looking robes) Black was a devout Catholic.


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